Praise for Gwent NHS linen tagging system

1:37pm Thursday 9th January 2014

A NEW electronic tagging system designed to prevent the annual loss of hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of hospital linen in Gwent, received Welsh Government praise yesterday.

Aneurin Bevan Health Board's Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tagging system has been introduced in response to yearly losses that last year reached almost £400,000.

The board's laundry service, Greenvale, based at the former Llanfrechfa Grange Hospital site near Cwmbran, serves Gwent hospitals and also has contracts with Cardiff and Vale, and Powys Health Boards, Velindre NHS Trust, and smaller contracts in the NHS in England. It processes 12 million pieces of linen a year.

The new system is backed by £353,000 from the Welsh Government’s Invest To Save fund, which must be repaid, but which is expected to bring annual savings of up to £300,000 by the third year of operation.

It allows every item - from pillowcases to towels - to be identified, and allows accurate dispatch and collection and improved billing. It also allows the responsibility for losses to be assigned.

Finance minister Jane Hutt, who saw the system in operation yesterday, called it "an excellent public service efficiency project."

"It saves money for the taxpayer by ensuring we are safeguarding public money for frontline services in the NHS, and assures the continued availability of hospital linen," she said.

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